Why does exercise cause muscle twitching?


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You’ve just completed a tough workout, and now your left quad muscle won’t stop twitching. Ah, the post-exercise muscle twitch — it can be the most annoying part of your workout. Why does it happen, and how can it be prevented?

According to the National Institutes of Health, muscle twitches are fine movements of a small area of muscle. They are caused by minor muscle contractions in the area, or uncontrollable twitching of a muscle group that is served by a single motor nerve fiber.

Muscle twitching from exercise (or benign fasciculations) are common and are usually caused by dehydration, muscle fatigue, electrolyte deficiencies and lack of a proper warm-up and stretching routine. Other causes of twitching are stress, too much caffeine, fatigue and side effects from prescriPtion drugs. It can also be casued by a magnesium deficiency.

Avoid muscle twitching with a good warm-up before your workout and gradually increase your workload. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and stretch. Keep your muscles warm with compression tights and socks.

Don't work the same muscles every day. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment. You should also wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.

If the twitching is keeping you awake at night, a hot bath and massaging the area can help. Grab your foam roller for a deeper massage.

If the twitching lasts longer than a few minutes, see your doctor. It could be caused by an underlying neurological or muscular disorder like muscular dystrophy or ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).